The 22nd Annual Brian Bertoti Innovative Perspectives in History Graduate Conference was held March 29–30 in Owens Banquet Hall and the Graduate Life Center; it featured 20 presentations by students from seven U.S. institutions, including Virginia Tech. Department of History graduate students organized the conference; faculty from the Department of History served as discussants. Presenting papers were the following master’s students in History: Nick Bolin, “‘The Population Problem’: Origins of American and Indian Concerns Over Population”; Taylor Boyd, “Establishing a Narrative: Local Historical Memories of the Martinsville Seven Case in Martinsville, Virginia”; Jeff Felton, “The Realities of Defeat: The Turning Points of the Civil War in Virginia, September–December, 1864”; Heath Furrow, “‘We Can Do Very Little with Them’: British Discourse on Shi’is in Iraq”; Jenni Gallagher, “‘Remove Him to the Poorhouse’: Poor-Relief in Montgomery County, VA, 1830–1880”; John Legg, “Changing Perspectives: The Contested Memories of the U.S.–Dakota War of 1862”; Kaitlyn Martin, “The Thesmophoria and the Women of Thebes”; Marlee Putnam, “A Jane of All Trades: Janet Taylor’s Contributions to Victorian Navigation”; Spenser Slough, “Forgetting by Avoidance: African American Burial Grounds, Forgotten History, and Jettisoned Memory in Northwest Wake County, NC, 1870–2018”; Kathryn Walters, “20,000 Fewer: The Wagner-Rogers Bill and the Jewish Immigration Crisis”; Ryan Wesdock, “The Floatplane Controversy: Proscription, Procedure, and Protection in Carroll County”; and Emily Wild, “The Complexities of Womanhood: The Identities of Female Quaker Unionists in the Civil War.”
The College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences was well represented at the showcase of the Council on VT History, which was unveiled on March 20 at Newman Library. Featured were: “From Orange to Maroon,” a history of Virginia Tech presented by Peter Wallenstein, a professor of history; “If This Place Could Talk: Visualizing 150 Years of Virginia Tech’s History” by Paul Quigley, the James I. Robertson, Jr. Associate Professor of Civil War Studies in the Department of History; “VT Stories,” stories of alumni, faculty, staff, and community members gathered by Katrina Powell, a professor and director of the Center for Rhetoric in Society and the Ph.D. Program in Rhetoric and Writing in the Department of English, and her team; and “Voices in the Stone,” live performance in theatre, dance, and music coordinated by Paul Steger, a professor of theatre and director of the School of Performing Arts. All projects will be completed for Virginia Tech’s sesquicentennial in 2022. Established in 2017, the council explores how Virginia Tech might recognize and acknowledge its history in the context of today and the Beyond Boundaries vision for the future.
The following graduate students presented papers at the annual ASPECT Graduate Conference titled “Rethinking Otherness in the Age of Neoliberalism”: Judson Abraham, ASPECT, “The Question of ‘Corporatism’ in Left-Populist Discourse”; Caroline Alphin, ASPECT, presented “Bulletproof Neoliberals: Reframing the Biohacker as an Intensified Accelerationist”; Nada Berrada, ASPECT, “The Neoliberal State and Youth Policy in Morocco”; Allie Briggs, ASPECT, “The Perfect Crime: Race as Technology and Modern Liberal Sovereignty”; Jay Burkette, ASPECT, “Utopia as a Verb: Mutual Aid as Its Process”; Linea Cutter, ASPECT, “Spaces of Empire in Popular Culture: A Critical Analysis of To the Bone”; Joshua Earle, Science, Technology and Society, “The Problem of the Sexy Cyborg: Race, Gender, and Otherness in Transhumanism”; Jordan Fallon, Political Science, “‘Omar Comin’: Black Subversive Marginality and Neoliberal Subjectivity”; Rob Flahive, ASPECT, “Aesthetics of the Other: Reinscribing Colonial Urbanism through Preservation”; Jenni Gallagher, History “‘Remove Him to the Poorhouse’: Poor-Relief in Montgomery County, VA, 1830–1880”; Ruth Grene, Hispanic Studies, “Views of the Subaltern in Mexican Film”; Johannes Grow, ASPECT, “The Geopolitics of the ECSC”; Robert Hodges, ASPECT, “Two Differing Intentions Toward Alterning the International System: A Discussion of al-Qaeda and Islamic State Goals”; Jack R. Leff, Science, Technology, and Society, “Enclosable Futures: How Prisons Render Prisoners’ Futures for ‘Public’ Consumption”; John R. Legg, History, “White Lies, Native Revision: Public Memory and the U.S.–Dakota War of 1862”; Leigh McKagen, ASPECT, “An Imperial Journey: Castaway Narratives in Star Trek: Voyager”; Mohammed Pervaiz, ASPECT, “Valorizing and Other-ing Bodies: Examples in Historical and Contemporary Turkey”; Sarah Plummer, ASPECT, “Panoptic Policing: A Theory of Surveillance as Resistance”; Shaun Respess, ASPECT, “Why/When Suicide Offends the Neoliberal Us”; Mary Ryan, ASPECT, “The Last Gasp: How Racial Crisis Threatens U.S. Democracy”; Patrick Salmons, ASPECT, “Althusser’s Reproduction of Race in Society”; Katy Shepard, ASPECT, “Art as the Creative Process, Identity Building, and Liberation”; Faith Skiles, ASPECT, “Decidedly Neo-Confucian: Western Missionaries’ Ordering of Space in Korea”; Spenser Slough, ASPECT, “Consumerism, Material Culture, Gender, and Performance as Historical Method in Investigating Commonplace Financial Records of Rural Communities”; Emma Stamm, ASPECT, “Algorithmic Determinacy and Interpretative Psychedelic Science”; Alexander Stubberfield, ASPECT, “State of the Art: The Habitat Quantification Tool and the Environmental Defense Fund”; Anthony Szczurek, ASPECT, “Sacred Climate Futures: Hindutva Imaginaries of Climate Change (2015–2018)”; Madison Tepper, ASPECT, “Radical Counterperformance: Invoking Bodily Affect as to Global Capitalism”; Molly Todd, ASPECT, “Affective Juxtaposition and the Border Crossing Experience of Pixar’s Coco”; Shelby Ward, ASPECT, “State In/security and War Tourism: Sri Lankan Identity Politics and Tourism Mapping Practices”; Sara Wenger, ASPECT, “The Strange Case of Aura Dolls: Posthuman Anxiety and the Sex Work Debate”; Zachariah Wheeler, ASPECT, “Back to the Future: Symbolic Revolution, Aporia, and the Death of Neoliberalism”; Tara Wilson, Political Science, “Evaluating the Provable Successes of the United Nations Human Rights Council”; and Sengul Yildiz-Alanbay , ASPECT, “Constructing the ‘Other’ through a Discourse of Compassion: The Representation of the Iconic Image of Alan Kurdi in Turkey’s Foreign Policy Towards the EU.” The conference took place March 21–23 on campus.
Peter Wallenstein, a professor from the Department of History, published “The Morrill Land-Grant College Act of 1862: Seedbed of the American System of Public Universities,” Civil War Congress and the Creation of Modern America: A Revolution on the Home Front, ed. Paul Finkelman and Donald Kennon (Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 2018), pp. 82–117.
Circulating Now, the blog of the Historical Collections of the National Library of Medicine, posted three papers about Russian influenza research by Tom Ewing, a professor in the Department of History and associate dean for Graduate Studies and Research; Andrew Pregnall, a senior history and microbiology major; and 2018 alumni Ian Hargreaves, German and international studies; Jessica King, communication and international studies; and Tyler Talnagi, German and international studies. “Revealing Data: Using Term Frequency to Chart Influenza Reporting,” “Revealing Data: Measuring Mortality During an Epidemic,” and “Revealing Data: Close Reading and Textual Analysis as Historical Methods” were posted on November 14, 15, and 16 respectively.
The research was completed in the summer of 2017 and presented in July 2017 at a seminar hosted by the History of Medicine Division of the National Library of Medicine.
Trudy Harrington Becker, the associate chair and a senior instructor in the Department of History, published “The Mystery of the Commandant’s Writing: Turning First-Year Students into Researchers,” Perspectives on History 56.8 (November 2018): 21–23.
Paul Quigley, the James I. Robertson, Jr. Associate Professor of Civil War History in the Department of History and director of the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies, and James Hawdon, director of the Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention from the Department of Sociology, edited Reconciliation after Civil Wars: Global Perspectives, Routledge Studies in Modern History (London and New York: Routledge, 2018). Quigley’s individual contribution to the volume was the introduction, “Reconciliation: Civil War by Other Means,” pp. 1–13; that of Hawdon was the final chapter, “United We Heal, Divided We Reconcile: Group Solidarity and the Problem of Status after Civil Conflicts” pp. 251–64.
Jeff Felton, a master’s student in the Department of History, published “Early’s Tarheels: The North Carolina Soldier in the Shenandoah Valley, June–November, 1864,” Journal of the Shenandoah Valley During the Civil War 2 (2019): 67–87.
LaDale Winling, an associate professor in the Department of History, in collaboration with Robert Nelson and Justin Madron from the University of Richmond, launched an interactive website, “Electing the House of Representatives, 1840–2016.”
Assisting with the project were undergraduate Jennalee Beazley, international studies, Spanish, and economics; L. T. Wilkerson, a master’s student in history; and the following CLAHS alumnae: undergraduate history majors Caitlin Brown, Victoria Fowler, and Rachel Snyder; international relations major Sarah Rouzer; and graduate students Carmen Bolt, Alexandra Dowrey, and Rebecca Williams, who completed a master’s degree in history.
The College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, the Department of History, and the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies helped fund this project with grants for research and data work.